One thing that fills us with dread at this time of year is the amount we end up spending on all the unnecessary things we know we don’t need but can’t help but buy. We are drowning in Christmas advertising from the moment Halloween ends, and it gives us too much time to create lists and lists of unnecessary items we just have to have. Well, no more! Have a look at these six easy ways that can help you stay out of the red this Christmas.
Do your food shopping online
We are all guilty of having a shopping list we probably spent hours deliberating over and then getting to the store and spending a ridiculous amount on stuff that wasn’t even on it. Supermarkets use psychology to place their products strategically, and even though we all know it, we fall for it every time. Avoid this by doing your food shopping online, so you don’t lose your head like a kid in a candy store. When shopping online, you can simply search for the things on your list and add them one by one, cutting out all the temptation.
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Stick to your budget
Christmas is designed to make us feel like spending a packet and that buying in excess is the only way to have a good time. It’s never been true, but we buy into it every year, and even get ourselves in debt to keep up with the commercialisation of it all. Not only that, but we buy in excess and end up accumulating a lot of waste. Creating and maintaining a budget can be a great way to get you to think about what you’re buying and to prioritise exactly what you need. Stick to your guns, stick to your budget, and you won’t go wrong.
Do not give in to the sales
Ah, the sales. You’ve just spent 100’s of pounds on who knows what, and the sales are not where you win your money back. The TV and online ads may be screaming at you to “buy buy buy,” but resist the urge, keep your head down, and just keep walking. Half of the items were probably cheaper the day before anyway, so you’re not missing out on anything. Repeat that mantra to yourself as you go about your business, as I know as well as the next person that the constant notifications from your apps and the big red sale signs in store windows are terribly intoxicating.
Group gift buying, anyone?
There’s nothing more tedious than doing the rounds and getting everyone’s gift preferences – especially if you have a big family or social group. Save yourself the drama because there is another way. From secret Santa to going in on a gift with friends or family can save you a lot of money and a lot of headache. It’s also more convenient as it eliminates you traipsing around the shops in the freezing cold, or bulk buying gift cards, which certainly adds up!
Try making the presents
If you’re a bit strapped this holiday season, or you’d rather not buy into the charade of it all, why not spend your time instead of your money by making the perfect gift. Whether that be a scrapbook, knitwear or a nice ceramic bowl, it’s not only cheaper, but it shows you genuinely care. However, if you’re not naturally gifted at knitting, why not share another talent you have with them? Write them a song, paint them a picture or, my personal favourite, bake them something you know they will love that they can enjoy on Christmas Day. We have some great articles to help get you started. For example, ‘How to make Christmas accessories’, or ‘How to make diy Christmas gifts’.
Remember it’s only one day
Advertising for Christmas may start in October and go on for two months, but remember, it’s only one day. The pressures of the holiday can feel very real for some people, but there really is no need to cripple your finances for it. Do yourself a courtesy and work to remove the financial burden that Christmas brings. Whether you’re religious or not, Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, taking time out to reflect on the year, and looking forward to new beginnings. So bear that in mind and have yourselves a very merry Christmas without the not so merry maxed-out credit cards.